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“Hi, I’m Chris Bishop. I’m reading from When Lisa Was Alive and Dead.
And then she shows up at his place, skips from the road behind his house, throws herself over his fence, peers through his kitchen window all smiling eyes and eager insistence.
And he breathes her in.
Sucks her through the fissures of the material between them. Through the cracked windows and filthy screens. Through the chalky eczema of the concrete walls. She decomposes into particles of scent that flood between the gaps, and he inhales her.
She pulses into the empty spaces of his house and kisses him, pushes him down and takes him on the kitchen floor, his naked back adhering to the lino. She shrugs off her clothing as she would a rumour and pours herself onto him like sand—fine, dry, cool. Her face is the only planet in the orbit of his view, her long hair hanging down, enveloping his head, sweeping the floor, a blanket of conspiracy drawn about them.
And then there is the emptiness of afterwards, a profound and catastrophic silence that follows such passion. To move into quiescence from such furious action is almost unbearable. They lie motionless on the kitchen floor, side by side, her fingertips just resting on his hand, both of them staring at the shadows cast on the ceiling by the oscillations of the television, as the sea of faith retreats bodily from them. A melancholy, long, withdrawing roar down the vast edges drear and naked shingles of their world. And, in its wake, a torpor that makes a mockery of all action that preceded it, a languor that threatens to render all futures inert.
The floor, previously their accomplice, now turns in malice upon them, pressing uncomfortably on hips and shoulder-blades. The air becomes stifling, the stillness unsettling. He leans over, rests his weight on a single arm, and whispers to the girl.
‘Do you want to go for a walk?’ he says.
They slip into their clothes, silent as assassins, and walk barefoot into the solace of the night.
They walk on the road and the asphalt is still warm beneath their feet. They walk past houses that lie crouching in the dark. Some blink light through half-open blinds, others are already asleep. There is no breeze to stir up dust from the empty roads. No trees move. There is no sound beyond their foot-falls on the road and the impotent attentions paid to streetlamps by the moths.”
ABOUT CHRIS BISHOP:
I grew up in country New South Wales and my childhood was a world of pig-shooters, scalp-hunters and tent-boxers. My mother chased work—cooking for drovers and stockmen, housekeeping on remote stations—so we travelled a lot. She shot through on my dad when I was still a baby, so I never knew him. On his deathbed, I learnt about his Aboriginal heritage. I had more than twenty different schools. Eventually I left the country to go to university. Now I write.
“I was awarded a Publisher’s Fellowship at Varuna in 2010” Chris Bishop
The Wounding Plough (1993)
Killing the Lizard (1994)
Text and Transmission in Medieval Europe (2007)
Via email email@example.com
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